Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

47) #ExponentialInsights: How to Redefine Leadership w/ Rich Jones

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The pandemic has created an opportunity. Financial brands, which had been moving toward a digital-first approach at a snail's pace, have suddenly hit the fast-forward button. Now we have to work on making products and services easier with digitalization.


What will leadership look like in this new digital and post-pandemic world?

In this episode of Banking on Digital Growth, I talk with Rich Jones, president and principal at Leading2Leadership, about leadership in a post-COVID, digital-first world.

Rich and I discuss:

  • Why leadership does not belong to a chosen few
  • The role of culture in digital growth
  • The one thing a financial brand must commit to do in the next 12-18 months

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

...right. You're listening to banking on DigitalGrowth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing,sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential bygenerating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part ofthe exponential insight Siri's, where James Robert interviews the industry'stop marketing sales, and Fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom toeexponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show. Greetings inHello, I am James Robert Ley and welcome to another episode of theexponential insight Siris of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast.Today I'm excited to welcome Rich Jones to the show. Rich is the president andprincipal at leading to leadership. Hello, rich. Hello, Good to be here.Thanks for having me. It is good to have you for sure before we get intotoday's conversation. Because, as you and I were just talking before we hitthe record button, we got a lot to cover. What's one thing right now thatyou're excited about that, you're working on the personal provided that alot of stuff that we've been talking about for the last 57 10 years count,um, about how credit unions need to transform how they need to make theirproducts and service make their brand, making their differentiator mawravailable to people so they don't have to get in the car and drive. And thispandemic has created that that opportunity, where those plans thatpeople have had in place for 10 years have been kind of moving along slowly,have kind of hit mass now and there. It's like it's like the fly will affectright now, and they realize that Oh, my gosh, we gotta play catch up now andwe've got to get there And most of them...

...have done a good job, but now they'rerealizing how critically important that's has been. And so this wholething about digital transformation and making products and services moreaccessible and easier to engage with for credit unions is absolutely now onfast forward. I think the opportunity that creates, though it's still a lotof that work, and you can identify this. A lot of that work is being done insilos. You know, you've got you've got your your lending and they have theirown digital initiative of how toe you know, with with with the online loanapplications and the mortgage mortgage applications, the collection, onlinecollection, services and so forth. So they got their own little effort goingon here. You got branches doing their own thing you got. I t doing their ownthing. You've got marketing and doing their own thing. And so all these silosthere kind of working in conflict with each other. And so the opportunity nowis to kind of look at digital digital strategy as an organizationalinitiative and not a departmental initiative on initiative that is drivenby a single leader. You know, our ord charts need to kind of be reinvented.You know, work chart should follow strategy. Strategy should not follow orcharts. So if a strategic initiative is to become more digitally friendly,whether you call it mobile first or digital first, I don't care. But ifthat is the initiative, then there needs to be an executive that thatbands over all the silos that's driving that initiative forward and has aproject business plan toe actually make it happen in the foreseeable future.Yeah, you just recently wrote an article about that because you notedthat leadership must be redefined because, you know, leadership is seenas the job of the chosen few dictated...

...by that Orrick chart. But you continuewriting that leadership isn't for the few. Leadership is for the masses. Andthen you continue to share five reasons or five ways to redefine leadership.Let's let's talk about that. Because leadership post co vid and a digitalFirst World is vastly different than what leadership was pre coated in thelegacy model. Yeah, you know, it used to be leadership was all about positionentitle, you know, So you got to a point and I'm a manager. So now I'mleading a team of people, you know? But that whole concept is kind of datedtoday because every one of the jobs within a credit, you know, I don't careif you're a teller. I don't care if you're a member service person. I don'tcare if you're processing loan applications. I don't I don't care ifyour underwriter it doesn't matter what your role is. You are an expert in thatjob, and you probably gnome or in a lot of cases, then the S V p overseeingyour role. Because if they did it, they did it in time in the past. So havingthat kind of what I call that distributed leadership model, wherebecause you're an expert, you have to have voice and anything that impactsyour ability to do this job well and and to serve your members, whoever thatis internal or external better, you have to have voice. And that voice hastoe have meaning and has to be heard and has to be more importantly, believe.And I think that's kind of missing right now in leadership developmentacross credit units, it's still kind of this top down. You know, you and Italked about this earlier, and I know you're proponent this. We gotta turnthe pyramid upside down. You know, Bill Sterner told me he was a CEO that Ifirst CEO or work for, he said. The higher you get the organization, unlessyou know what's going on in the front line. And so we need to let the frontline drive. What is important to what they're engagements tell them isimportant, and that engagement, more often or not, is the customer of themember. It's not what the board says is...

...not what the S B P says it's whatthey're hearing every day. Whether engaging our customer, Let's talk aboutLet's talk about flipping the Orc chart because that is something that we'vedone multiple times as recommendations for financial brands. When it comes totheir digital growth blueprint at the top, we put the community because thatis, ultimately, who were helping as a community financial institution. Idon't care if you're crediting and I don't care if a community bank you'rein goal is toe elevated. Level up the community and power of the community.After that, you have your account holders, but then you have your frontline. Those are the people like you said on the day to day that know theins and the outs. But as you're talking through, this I was thinking aboutfront line is a leadership to the people that they're helping to thepeople that they're guiding So leadership training all the way down tothe front line. Maybe it's not quote unquote cells training. Maybe it isleadership training because to me, leadership is about transformation,helping someone achieve their full potential that they might not even knowthat they have the ability to tap into that potential in the first place. So,just like leadership, like you said, is normally for the chosen few. If webring that conversation throughout the organization top to bottom, bottom totop, that is a transformative exercise. Yes. Yeah, I just think about that aminute we look at. Okay, I'm gonna credit you, Let's say and I'm lookingat my staff chart, my Lord chart. And I'm looking at that that whole row ofpeople that air called tellers and this is generally referred to as an entrylevel position. Now, just think about that a moment. Here it is the face ofthe credit union, that person that your customer, your member engages everysingle time that has conversation with that, understands and knows them, thathere's what they're saying and what...

...problems we're having, they'reconsidered. We we diminish them right from the get go right from the verybeginning. One thing that Coleman is Koven is done. Though I think that is areally plus for the for the whole industry. And that is we haveestablished a new appreciation for what we consider to be essential employees,and that is that person that is breathing in the virus job every day.That is the person that's having that conversation through now. A slice ofplexiglass but engaging people on a human level, the face of the creditunion should never be diminished as a new entry level job. It should beconsidered a professional job that is giving riel guidance and assistance topeople at the point of contact. What better role is there? Well, it'sinteresting because, like you said, you talk about the teller, that entry levelrole that is the we call them the front line. They are on the front line ofthis financial health crisis, and even just the transformation of the way thatwe think about them in the way they think about themselves, I think, couldbe a very empowering idea. So you're not just a teller, you're and I wrotesome ideas down your financial coach because I'm a big proponent andcoaching as almost a transformative activity for financial brand. You're afinancial advisor, your ah financial guide or a financial physician, justsomething that innate Lee. It says. You know what I do more than just transactwith someone? I transform someone's life and the way I do this isfinancially I love. I love this thinking. Ah, lot of credit unions havesomewhere in their mission statement, you know, we wanna we wanna help ourmembers achieve financial success. You know, there's there's some kind of verbege around that and almost every one of...

...them. And and just think about that.When I was at Elements Financial, Federal Credit Union, Indianapolis, westarted a new brand initiative, and that brand was We wanna be financialwellness providers. That was our that was our purpose in life. But what werealized that that person on the front line diminish themselves their value.And we're saying, You know, when somebody comes in and asked you tostart a savings account, ask him this question asked him, What are you savingfor? Because until you know that you really don't know what kind of accountopen for right. And so they said, Well, I'm not comfortable. This is what thatthat frontline teller would say. I'm not comfortable in giving these peoplethat have $150,200 on deposit giving them and financial advice, and I saidOh, time out. Think about this a minute. You know mawr, about what products andservices you have available to them than they know you are the expert here.You may not have the same balance sheet, but you have more knowledge than theyhave about what you can do for them. Once they got that paradigm shift, thenthose conversations about what do you need to borrow the money for? What areyou saving for? Became much more readily available in their in theirthought process because they saw themselves now as experts, not just astransaction experts. I think that's a that's a really big point to make,because when you are ill and your symptomatic, one of the very firstthings that we all do is we've got a Google and we Google those symptoms.And that's a very scary proposition, because Google, you get them selfdiagnosis, and that's the key you self diagnosis. So what do you do you like,uh, you know what? I'm freaking myself out. I'm gonna call the doctor becauseI'm gonna I'm gonna go see someone...

...who's gonna look at this objectively.And I think that's the same thing when it comes to a financial matters, andI've been reading a lot of research recently, almost going againstfinancial literacy or financial education. It's doing more harm thangood because it's giving a pseudo confidence that you really do need totalk to someone. And that's a cultural initiative right there. And here's myyou do a lot of work with culture when it comes to digital growth, digitaltransformation. What is the role of culture and what are the opportunities?Oh, it's absolutely critical. Okay, so So let's let's go back to thatconversation we had a minute ago. The people that are sitting on the phone inthe call center or the people on the member service desk or the people inthe teller window they've never used because they don'thave to, you know, banking services There, right there in their place ofwork every day. They've never used the online presence. They've never openedan account online. They transaction online, and they are totally unaware ofhow to do this stuff until they understand the value of that forthemselves. They can never, never promulgate that value to the peoplethey're talking Thio, you know, So it starts with make everybody in theorganization become digitally savvy when it comes to the breath, theirbanking products and services and and so that they are in a better position.When somebody comes in and said, Oh, man, I'm really in a hurry But I got todo this You know, they can counsel them on how to avoid the step the next timeand really provide a service. Go that step beyond. So culture is absolutelyessential. You'd also move up the orange chart and you'll find thatyou've got executives that have never...

...even used their mobile app before. Youknow, how in the world can you have a digital strategy when people are in theorganization? Are totally unaware of what a cool tool this is? Well, it'sinteresting that you note this because when we do our diagnostic studies andwe're working with a group of key stakeholders made up of typicallymarketing cells and leadership teams, we do ask them number one. Where isyour account primary account and a good 30 to 40%. It's always add anotherfinancial institution, and then number two, we asked. Have you ever appliedfor an account or opened alone at your financial brand. And then it was afollow up to that. Have you ever applied for a loan or open an accountat a neo bank or a neo lender? That is where the light bulbs start to go offwhen you just step back and you just that's your homework. Go do come back.Report. They're like, Wow, I see where the gaps are. And it's a self awarenessthat and then allows them because you could rich. You could say it all daylong. You guys need to change this. You guys need to make this why we were beensuccessful up to this point. How do you How do you How do you overcome some ofthat? We'll call it what I call the complacency of the cave because thecave it's safe, you know? You know, I haven't done this, but it'll be areally fun exercise to sit in the room with, you know, like 10 key people atdifferent levels. The organization, everything from the front line to theexecutive suite and have them do an online loan application right there inthe room, you know, on their computer just like they were, you know, doing itfrom home and what they're going to find out is how totally broken theprocess is. You know, I've been through...

...this a few times. You know, the kind ofintegration of a new online banking or new mobile banking thing. And you sitin these meeting rooms, you know, and you've got all the subject matterexperts around you, right? Who's driving that conversation Mawr thananybody else? Compliance and risk mitigation. Almost always so in. And sothey're building in all these protections because they have all thesefears of abuse and fraud and all this stuff, which is really, But they arestarting to put layers on layers and layers of risk mitigation andcompliance, on top of which should normally be a pretty simple thing, Youknow, the other. The other thing is toe have people sit down and have them. Youknow, like over the course of week. I want this team of people to go in andopen up a new savings account online. And I want this group of people to gointo a branch. And now I wanna compare the experience of what It was like todo that and find out where the Miss connections are, where we're doing thisover here. But we're not doing over here. It would be a lot easier if wewere to do this here and not do it here. You know, how can we get someconsistency? Regardless of what channel that members coming in through thatexperience is the same and the rules of the same. The risk mitigation is thesame. The compliance is the same. Everything is the same. So if theystart a program online, but for some reason they have to complete it in abranch or vice versa. There's no breakage. Technology has transformedour world, and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buyfinancial services forever. Now consumers make purchase decisions longbefore they walk into a branch if they...

...walk into a branch at all. But yourfinancial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digitalgrowth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financialbrand marketing and sales leader. But it doesn't have thio because JamesRobert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along yourdigital growth journey. Visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a previewof his best selling book, Banking on Digital Growth, or order a copy rightNow for you and your team from Amazon. Inside you'll find a strategicmarketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands, and it ispacked full of practical and proven insights you can start using today toconfidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Now back to theshow you're making me think of, ah, financial institution that we've beenadvising on the digital growth journey. And right now, at this moment we'vebeen going back and forth with compliance about some silly disclosureyou know of, ah, text messaging call back and I get the disclosure. It'sit's totally warranted to let someone know that if they complete this form,they might receive a text message and, you know, data rates might apply. Butthen they go on and get into this whole thing about telemarketing, and I'm like, Okay, compliance I get you. But at whatpoint does compliance become a cost and detrimental to the experience toe whereyou will see an exponential drop off in digital conversions. When you put thisdisclosure there because it's gonna scare the hell out of, no one's gonnawant to complete that because they're like, um, I give him away my first born.So yeah, at what point does compliance become a cost? And, you know, it'sdefinitely warranted. It's there to protect things, but it's also ah, bigchallenge when we're looking at this...

...idea of digital experience and speakingof challenges from your worldview and the work that you're doing withfinancial brands, what are some of the biggest challenges now that we're kindof we're not completely on the other side of co vid, but we're navigatingthrough this. What are some of the biggest roadblocks and challenges thatyou're hearing that you're seeing right now is we look ahead to 2021. You know,I think one of the biggest issues that that I'm seeing is that a lot of a lotof organizations have kind of put their entire strategic plan on pause. Theyhit the pause, but and they have no kind of set time set date to re engage.And okay, so let's get back in. You know the thing about strategic plans isnot. Everything goes three years from now, like you expected it to go today.You know, a lot of things pandemics happen, you know, way had that themortgage crash in 2000 and eight, you know, things happen that they're gonnadisrupt those plans. And what we have to do is have a process in place thatwe can quickly understand what the impact truly is, not what we think itis or what we're afraid it is. But what is it, really? And then what do we needto do to help that vision of the future become realized? And it may not happenas quickly. It may get slowed down in some cases. For example, on the digitalside, it may have sped it up. We had to do things a lot faster than what we hadplanned on initially. But what has changed and toe look at it verycritically and and not just hit the pause button until the next planningsessions said, Okay, what are we gonna do now? You know, strategic planningshould be Ah, once every 3 to 5 year effort with kind of a refresh. Once ayear. It's not a whole planning. I mean, you've got a plan. This is what wewanna be in three years. Let's see how we're progressing towards that and whatneeds to be amended. What do we not...

...know then that we know now that we needto take into consideration? Well, that's the big challenge, Thio. Let'sundo the pause button, okay? Yeah. And you talk about undoing the pause button.I'm right there with you. And when you think about creating a bigger, better,brighter future and setting down on that journey, one of the things that Isee when it happens with digital is not What are we gonna do? That's that'svery easy to say. We need to do, you know, 10 things. It's what are we goingto stop doing, right. How do you have that conversation? Well, yeah, thatzoos because, you know, you get into that room, you know where you got theboard and you got the senior executives, and they kind of all have their littlepet projects, you know? So So sometimes it's a matter of you First have toprior ties and the way I like to do that is let's set the priority but hasthe most, and it can vary by organization. But typically, what hasthe most member impact? What is going to really change that memberrelationship or that member experience? Eso you prioritize them all down andthen kind of like the old, you know, G model. You know, the bottom 10% has togo. That's just that's all that you know. And I don't care how much youlove that or how cool you think it is if it didn't hit this. So Number one iswhat is. What is the outcome? Who's gonna benefit the most? Number two is.What is that? The resource requirement? Number three. What is the budgetrequirement? And once you've kind of built that matrix, then it's reallyeasy to kind of prioritize what comes first. What comes and that doesn't meanthe one that's in the bottom 10% goes away. It may have to wait a year or twoyears or three years before it elevates up toe, where it has a chance of havingthe kind of impact organization needs,...

...but a lot of it's driven by. Oh, we gotto do this This is really cool stuff, you know, And so and you gotta have thematrix value creation having the courage to have the difficultconversations, ask the tough questions and sometimes sometimes more times thannot. It takes working with someone from the outside, kind of like you, becauseeveryone else is too close toe. Whatever it is, might be your objective.You don't have a dog in the fight. You could care less is toe. What happensYou're in point, though, is growth for the organization and growth for themembers creating value for the people in the communities. My job is to helpyou see the trees, the forest, not just the trees, you know, that's that's kindof what my job is, you know, and and unfortunately, the other the other Ithink opportunity we have is I don't know if you've seen this, but I wasworking with Credit unit not too long ago and I was sitting there. I wastalking to the VP of lending, and this is all part of my discovery diagnosticpiece and and I said, Okay, so you've got these these lone goals, theseconsumer loan goals, right? He said, Yeah, I said, Who owns that number? AndI got this blank stare back at me. Well, I see the same thing with strategicplanning. They they say, Okay, we wanna become We want to become a leader indigital engagement. Let's say that's their strategy and they've identifiedwhat that looks like and what that feels like in the future. But then theydon't go to that next step. Who owns that? Who, strategically, Who's gonnabe at the table advocating for the resource and for the budget? Who isgoing to be monitoring the milestones to make sure we're hitting those Thosekey projects when they need to be done toe actually make this happen. So, youknow, I don't see that kind of that. When I was, I was working for a smallcatalog company out of Portland, Oregon,...

...and we were acquired by Reader's Digest,and I had a meeting with the CEO at the time of Reader's Digest. This isseveral years ago in Reader's Digest, still had some value and what he hadjust gotten off his quarterly call with the analysts. And so you know where hishead waas This is a publicly held company, and that called The analyst issaying this is what we're gonna do in the next quarter so they could go outand say, Okay, this is a by this is not by this is a whole They could do theirjob, right? He sat down with me and says, I want to tell you one thing thatif you give me a number, that is a covenant between you and me. And if youdon't make that number, then we're gonna have another conversation. Okay,so right there, there's an ah ha! Moment for us here. How many? How manycredit unions have that mentality of a publicly held companies Say, You know,if we're gonna commit this number, then we we have to make it. That is our job.And if we can't make it, we gotta figure out what we need to dodifferently. So we don't miss it again, right? You know, im I wrote about thisin the book because it's one of the 12 days I it is. It's accountability,accountability. It's a you. If you're gonna make the commitment for X, makesure that you have Why toe hold you accountable to get there. This has beensuch a good conversation today, Rich and I thank you for the exponentialinsights that you have shared with us today. As we get close to wrapping up,I wanna look out to the future. You know, it's 2021. What is one thing thatyou feel that you believe? Ah, financial brand must commit to over thenext 12 to 18 months because there's office. There's so much that they could.But if it's just that one thing, because because that's easy thio trackand put a metric to and and hold...

...accountability against, What's that onething from your world? I don't think I could do one thing. I really don't. Iwish I could, James, But you know what? But I think they're kind of threepriorities right now. One is whatever they're doing now, digitally, they'vegot to refine that and they've got to define it, and they've got to get muchbetter at it, and and that has to be essential. And if they got the wrongcore, if they got the wrong m l o s or whatever it is, they got to fix that.The second one is around. Data data is such an organizational asset. If wedon't get our arms wrapped around data and where we can trust the data,regardless of where what source that data is coming from, then we're gonnabe making bad decisions because the data is bad. And the third one, I thinkright now and this has been driven home here in the last in the last two weeks.I think that we have got to figure out how to make our workplaces safe foreverybody. I don't care. I don't care what race, religion, color orientation.Everybody has to feel like they have a safe place at work and that they havevoice at work. And and so we've to me, you know? So you've got you've got thedigital thing. You've got the data thing and now you've got the culturething. We've got to HR has got to do a much better job in making the culturework for the employees because it works for them is gonna work for the memberis exactly right. Then there's no better way toe to wrap that up. Thosethree points, I really appreciate that it's been a good conversation. Ifsomeone wants to continue the conversation with you rich, what is thebest way for them to reach out and say hello? LinkedIn is a good way to do it.You can go to my website. Rich are leading to leadership dot com. That's anumber two or just emailed me at Rich at leading to leadership dot com.Excellent rich. Well, thank you so much for again for joining me on anotherepisode of banking on Digital growth.

It's been a pleasure, James, Thank youuntil next time be Well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you forlistening to another episode of Banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley.Like what you hear? Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review onApple podcasts, Google Podcast or Spotify and subscribe while you'rethere to get even. Mawr Practical in proven insights, visit www dot digitalgrowth dot com to grab a preview of James Roberts bestselling book Bankingon Digital Growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon.Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framedaround 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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